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What to Look for in Booking a Hotel

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 14, 2016 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

                   


 

              Hey, are you considering to have a short vacation or holiday to unwind?   It is advisable to consider few things before you decide to choose and book a hotel.  


1.  The hotel should suit your personality and budget.  


           

           Well, it really depends on the situation and your personality.  Even if you want the best and comfortable stay, our primary problem is always the budget---that ends you up settling for a  2 or 3-star hotel instead.  Most of the time, because of practicality, people are also considering cheaper accommodations like transient houses and apartments.  Whatever your personality is, you have to consider  your BUDGET. 

                             
 2.  Visit the hotel's website, reviews in Tripadvisor and blogs.

                     The first thing that l do every time I am in search of a hotel  is to use Agoda, then I visit the website and check whose rates are more affordable.  I also look for the photos of the rooms, services and facilities.  I find it helpful to read the reviews in Tripadvisor and blogs first because often what the hotels have in their website is all but false information, so I'd rather believe and trust what people say based from their own experiences.  In search for blogs, I look for actual photos of the guests for me to be fully convinced.
 

 3.  Make sure that you are comfortable.


               

                  Based from your comprehensive research, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are comfortable (but again, you have to consider your BUDGET) ;  otherwise, your stay in the hotel will be like a living hell and you won't be able to do your tasks. Look for a place where you can get a good night sleep (no itchy linens and towels, not freakin' hot and not noisy).   

3.  Consider the accessibility to other places.  



           

               One major thing that you should also consider is the accessibility of the hotel to other establishments.  Is this near public transport,  restaurants, grocery and market?  Is it easy to locate?  

          When I was in Baguio, I was flabbergasted when most of the cab drivers are not familiar with Villa La Maja in Outlook Drive.  I had difficulty also in looking for cafes and restaurants-- but that is totally a different story.  We went to Baguio for the International Seminar for English Teachers and we had to stay at Teachers' Camp.  I personally don't prefer TC, especially when I heard and read all those ghost stories.  I opted to look for another hotel, but didn't have a budget at that time.  Fortunately, I had colleagues who shared the expenses with me.  

          When hotel receptionists don't seem to have phone etiquette and customer service skills, I almost gave up.  I sticked to the one who answered the phone politely and answered my queries professionally.  After all--- in that particular situation, nobody would like to accept guests for very early check-in (5 to 6am).  Though it's kinda far and old (they were renovating the hotel at that time), I would still recommend Villa La Maja Hotel.



4.  Check if they have ATM machines in the area.

            You need to anticipate problems that you will encounter.  I made sure that I have cash in my Baguio trip and in my recent Boracay trip, I called the hotel reservations desk to check if they accept credit card and the reservations officer ensured me that they do.  I  brought my credit cards with me, but I also brought cash and my debit card just in case there'll be a problem.  


5.  Check the facilities.
             From the hotel's website, you can check if they have spa, gym, cafe and other services that you are interested with.  














6.  Verify the freebies included.


               Check and verify what is included in the package you would like to avail (I do this often, hehehe!) It is important to know if free breakfast is included.  If breakfast isn't included, research for affordable restaurants and the price range of meals so you'll have an idea where to go and how much to bring.




         
                Big hotels have free toiletries so you don't have to worry about bringing your own;  however, if you decide to book in a small and average hotel, don't expect for freebies.  The last time we booked in a 3-star hotel in Boracay, we had to provide our own shampoo and conditioner.  






                     The key in finding your perfect hotel lies in your responsibility as well.  Take time to search and ask the hotel about the information that you need.  
                     

What I Missed in Boracay: Planning for the Lean Season

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 10, 2016 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)





           Hi there!  Probably you already have read about my Boracay blogs and you're wondering why I still plan to visit in the lean season.  Well, it's a fact that there's something in the island that urges me to keep coming back-- some sort of enigma, eh?  The truth and the funny thing is, though I stayed in Boracay for 4 days and 3 nights, I still have missed to do a LOT of things. I prefer to go in the lean season istead considering I would like to enoy the island more and I can attain this if it's not that crowded.  So what exacty have I missed out and what are my plans?  Take a look.


1.  Look for a comfortable and affordable place to stay





Estacio Uno lobby



 
    Estacio Uno pool


           Though, I highly recommend Estacio Uno (a beachfront hotel with outdoor pool) , I still want to suggest more resorts depending on your preferences/personality.  I would like to discover other options and feature those hotels in my blog.



2.  Visit  Puka Beach and Diniwid Beach




         I just spent my 4d/3n stay in the island exploring the White Beach (walking and people-watching).  I wonder what to see in those beaches so I might consider island hopping this time.


3.  Discover and feature more affordable restaurants




Dinner buffet in Astoria

     


Caruso Ristorante Italiano


        Last visit, I have discovered Villa De Oro Restaurant and Carusso Ristorante  Italiano.  I know there's more to discover and share to the readers.

4.  Feature the natives and their culture

          There is more to know about Boracay aside from being a paradise to the tourists.  It is also interesting to discover about the people behind the popular destination.  

5.  Give some more tips on how travellers can save.

            Well, of course, that is the main purpose of thie blogs I create.  I already have devised a strategy on how to do that, but I won't divulge it yet.  Just wait for my next posts :-)

 6.  Have a henna tattoo.





           I wasn't able to have a henna tattoo the last time I went to Boracay, but I actually would like to try it.

7.  Discover more activities to do in the island.
 
            If you are not much into water activities (like I do), we will discover alternative activities to do in Boracay.



           

                  That's it for now, if you have any suggestions on what I should try, feel free to leave a comment below.  I will update you with my Boracay 2016 (Lean Season Edition) in the next months. Untill next post :-)




Planning for my Next Baguio Trip

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 10, 2016 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

          Oh, so classes will start on June 13 and I still have time to unwind and relax!  Where should I go?  One of the places I have in my list is BAGUIO CITY.  I have been there a lot of times already (when I was a kid) and recently last November 2015 I was there to attend the International Seminar for English Teachers.  I didn't enjoy that much because we had limited time, but I promised myself that I will go back and I will definitely fulfill my promise.  

        So, what's the plan?  I have listed the things I should do for my 2016 Baguio Trip.





 1.  Look for a comfortable and affordable accommodation
         
          The last time I went to Baguio, I didn't join my colleagues in the Teachers' Camp because I've heard so much ghost stories and I thought I won't be able to function well in the seminar and of course, there will be sleepless nights, hehehe....   searched for an affordable place where we can have a very early check-in (5 to 6am) because we had to be in Teachers' Camp at 7am.   After days of searching, I found  Villa La Maja Hotel. located in Outlook Drive, Baguio City.  Why Villa La Maja?  I had to consider two of my colleagues who joined me in the room.  Our budget is only P2000 plus per night.  It was kinda creepy because the hotel was old, but at that time, the hotel was under renovation.  




Outside Villa La Maja Hotel


       On our last day in Baguio, while waiting for our scheduled trip in Victory Liner, my  colleagues and I were chatting about the hotels.  The two hotels that stood up among the rest are Microtel Wyndham (the location is very accessible because it is near Victory Liner) and Azalea Hotels and Residences (We always see this hotel because it is just across the Teachers' Camp.  Our thoughts--classy which excatly suits my taste, but we thought it's kinda expensive.

       I will give you an update about my next Baguio accommodation after my trip.  


 2.  Explore and feature the tourist spots.

           Because I had to be in the seminar in my last Baguio trip, our time for sightseeing was limited.  I will feature the different tourist spots and helpful information about these places in my next posts.






 3.  Go to a resort (hot springs).

            When I tell my colleagues that one of the things I would like to do is to swim in Baguio, they find it hilarious (It's like---"Really? Are you serious--- you want to swim in Baguio?")   So, I would like to show in my blog what something unusual can you try.  Why not? -- Not only Laguna has hot springs.  It's about time to discover and try these hot springs (I've heard, there's not only one) I can't wait ti feature this in my blog.

 4. Discover and feature about the people, culture and traditions.  
      
          My purpose in writing blogs is to educate the readers by highlighting the city's culture and interesting practices.  I could do this by taking a lot of photos (Yes, photos are really important in blogs.  When I am lsearching for places to stay, I look for the photos rather than reading lengthy descriptions.  I would like to interview people and establishments (My advantage is that before I became an educator, I have graduated with the degree of Broadcast Communications so I have more idea of what to d).  Finally, I would like to share my experience and discoveries to my students.   

 5.  Discover about different affordable and classy restaurants.





         We need to have a comprehensive guide so I will feature where and what to eat in your next Baguio holiday.

6.  Buy more souvenirs or "pasalubongs."

           I spent thousands of pesos for the souvenirs and with our limited time, we bought more of the stuff in the market and inside Teachers' Camp.  On my next blogs, watch out for the list of souvenirs that you can buy and the price range as well.


              My Baguio 2016 trip is what I look forward to.  I am truly sure that I can give you helpful content on my next posts.  If ever you have suggestions on what I should try in my next visit (hopefully this month), please leave a comment here :-)
    
           

What Facebook Should Improve

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 10, 2016 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)





                  

          Facebook is a very powerful tool I use (for communicating and marketing purposes) I use it to connect with long-lost friends and classmates, communicate and upload files to school-related work. I created three pages --the first one for business which has 1k plus likes; the other one is for the classes I handle; and the last one is for my digital magazine (My Barbie World) It is very convenient to upload files and to announce because most of the students have Facebook account. But of course, not everything is perfect. I will enumerate what I have experienced and suggest what should be done.

 


1.  Limited number of friends (Yes, 5,000 friends is NOT enough for me!)
                 
             I hate to do it but I have to limit my number of friends.  It came to a point that I have reached my 5,000 friends limit, and I had to remove people.  Why so many friends?  Well, I have more than 200 students per year and that is why I really can't accept all of them.  As much as possible I would like to accommodate them.

 2.  Group Settings
                        a.  I created a page for my English classes and supposedly, all the members should be MY STUDENTS.  There are requests of other students who would llike to be part of the group.  I do not accept their requests, but other students keep adding them.  
             
                 b.  I think Facebook should prevent users to add members without the consent of the account owner.  I have been added a million times already, and a  million times also that I have left the group.  I had NO choice but to UNFRIEND or BLOCK the person who added me.  

3.  Fictitious Accounts  
                        I am not sure if we can do something about this, but with numerous fictitious accounts, you can be victimized by scammers.  It's about time that people think of a way on how we can improve this---I know it's gonna be difficult because some people are just careful with what information they share on the net.

4.  Cyberbullying
                          Something should be done about this to avoid user's mental torture.  Messages or posts should be screened (but how?)  Is the report/abuse feature working?


 POSITIVE SIDE:  
-  FB now has privacy settings - which mean you can approve what to appear in your timeline. (If I don't like the content, I don't approve it).
 - You can also approve first before being tagged.

          To sum it all up, despite of Facebook's limitations and shortcomings, we should be RESPONSIBLE users.


                        
                      




Congratulations, You're Hired!

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 9, 2016 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

             




         Have you experienced to apply for a job online or in person?  How many times did you hear the lines "We will just call you?"  Maybe you have reflected and asked yourself a thousand times, "What the hell is wrong?  Why is it that I didn't get the job?"  Here are some things to consider that could help you land in your dream job and some possible reasons why you have failed in your application.  

1.  Make sure that the job you are applying for is suitable for you.  Your course/degree is related to the position that you are applying for.  

        I have a tutoring business so when I look at the resume and I saw that the course is NOT Education, I do not schedule the applicant for screening/interview.  She/he has to be BEE or BSE graduate.

2.  Send a resume with NO typographical and grammatical errors.  Do not make your resume too long.




 3.  Be polite when you have received an invitation for screening/interview.  




           If I invite the applicant for screening, it means that he/she is qualified for the position.  I don't like it when the applicant asks too much about the job, especially when he/she calls over the phone.  I don't think that is ethical and professional.  Sometimes, even if the applicant is qualified, but he/she is too inquisitive, I don't invite him/her for screening anymore.  

        If you have received an invitation for screening, be polite.  Ask only about the important things like directions to the place and what to bring.  NEVER ask about the salary yet-- that will be discussed to you during the interview.



4.  Be punctual in your interview.  



        When you are scheduled at 9am, make sure that you are there 10 or 15 minutes before the time.  I am really impressed with applicants who are punctual because that'll be required in their tutoring job.  If an applicant always reschedule and gives too much alibi/s, there is something wrong with him/her.  He/she is not suitable for the candidate that I am looking for.  

5.  Wear the proper dress code.  

      Do not overdress.  Make sure that you have dressed according to the occasion.  This is a job interview so I expect that my applicants are going to wear something like slacks and blouse for women and polo and slacks for men.  Most of the time, I ask them to wear jeans instead and short-sleeved blouse.

 6.  Be professional and speak English fluently during the interview.

       I speak to my applicants in English at first to test or find out if he/she is fluent in English.  If he/she is qualified, but not fluent in English--- it's a BIG problem.  Why?  Most of our tutees' mother tongue is ENGLISH so it is very hilarious if the tutor can't express himself/herself in English.  The parents are also demanding that they require tutors who have excellent communication skills.  If the applicant has a minor problem with communication skills, but I think I can still train him/her, I schedule him/her for training.  

7.  Give your BEST SHOT in your demo/screening.  

      Impress your interviewer with your skills.  If you're too nervous or tensed, you cannot show your best--this will help the hiring manager decide if you are suitable for the job.   During the screening, I list the positive side and things to improve and I discuss it with the applicant.    If you have done all those, I'm sure you will hear these words "Congratulations, you are hired!"





Note:  We are hiring tutors in Antipolo, Cainta, Marikina, Quezon City and Pasig  City.  Please send your resume to screening@smarttutee.net .  You may also look for the details here:  http://www.smarttutee.com/careers









The Negative Side of Being a Hotel Reviewer

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 8, 2016 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)





                   Being a hotel reviewer is not an easy task-- it requires HONESTY so that you won't give your readers the false impression and details.  I create my blogs to inform them based from MY EXPERIENCES.  Part of being a travel blogger is also being a part of the Tripadvisor community (I also write to give my honest reviews of hotels, restaurants and attractions).  Before I have joined TA as a contributor, I read reviews before I decide to book a hotel, so it was really amazing because now, it's my turn to help the readers by writing GENUINE and HONEST reviews.

            After a week of my vacation in Boracay, I got the shock of my life when a staff from a hotel I have received a call in my mobile phone about my post in Tripadvisor.  They told me I should have talked to them about my complains (the small room and the malfunctioned aircon) before I publish my post.  I said we opted not to talk to them anymore and just apologized politely for giving my honest opinion.  What I want them to realize is that reviewers are here NOT to convince other people---we are NOT promoters of those establishments.  We are not paid to write fake reviews.  I use my own resources to book hotels, so everything that I post in TA and in my blogs are based from my OWN opinion.  I gave them a link to this website so they can read my more detailed blog about their hotel.  

           Here is my purpose why I review hotels/resorts:  
1.  To help the management identify what they need to improve and conceptualize ways on how they can resolve those concerns;
2.  For the management to be aware of their best practices (what do the customers love in their hotel) so they can keep doing those;
 3. To help the readers decide on their next trip      

           So, I think you have figured out by this time what is the negative side of being a hotel reviewer-- the management put the blame on YOU when you post something about your bad experience with them.  They should have dealt wit the issue professionally.  I have received responses from the management of the other hotels that I have reviewed, but those were professionally written and I believe that they understand that once you are in TA, you should be ready for criticisms---positive or negative.

          With this experience, NOBODY can stop me from writing reviews.  As long as I believe what I do is right and I am not violating any rules, nothing can change my views.  Cheers and more reviews to come!





My Boracay 2016 Adventure Day 2

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 6, 2016 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)


            Day 2 in Estacio Uno:  After a relaxing and sleeping well in our seaside suite,  I heated water in the electric pot for our coffee and cup noodles.  We just enjoyed staying in the room and watched television for an hour before going for our morning walk.

















          Before the morning walk and swim, we used the jacuzzi because we had to check out in the seaside suite that afternoon.  




We checked the lounge in the second floor and saw the breathtaking view.










We went to Willy's Rock to see the grotto.  





We got ready for the morning swim! 







We headed back to Estacio Uno for our FREE breakfast.

               








        After the breakfast, my son jumped to the pool for his morning swim :-)  I couldn't blame him for that--- the water is really irresistable!   From now on, one of my requirements in choosing a hotel aside from it has to be beachfront is-- a pool.










We requested for lounge chairs and beach towels so we can relax and watch people....











       Before 10am, I went to the suite to take a shower.  The front desk officer called to ask where do I want to have our FREE massage.  I chose the beach area, but after that I thought I have chosen the room service.  I was not comfortable with my clothes off and only a towel to cover my body.





         After having lunch in my fave restaurant (SMOKE RESTAURANT), we walked and explored D'mall.









After resting, we went to our lounge chairs and prepared again for the afternoon swim :-)
























My Boracay 2016 Adventure Day1

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 6, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)


                      One of the perspectives that has changed while I travel is my view about vacation.  Before, I don't plan carefully about it, but now, I consider every detail as much as possible.  In my recent Boracay trip, I made sure that I have a good flight schedule.  My flight to Kalibo was scheduled in the morning and we were able to reach the island at around 3pm.  Though our flight was delayed, everything was taken cared of-- thanks to BPHT transfer service http://www.boracayphilippineshotelandtransportation.com.ph/ ;)







              After checking in to Estacio Uno (seaside suite), we have stayed for about 45 minutes to 1 hour-- we feasted our eyes on everything that we see--- everything was so elegant and modern (from the design of the room, furnitures and appliances).  Because it was really relaxing to just stay in the room, we rested, but to decided to unpack our stuff when we have realized that we should make the most out of our 4-day stay in Boracay.





                      While we were unpacking, my son stepped out in the room and enjoyed swimming in the pool.


                


                  To stimulate our senses and replenish our strength (we are halfway-drained from the long  journey) hubby and I had a cup of complimentary coffee in the room. 




           After that, we have prepared ourself for our afternoon swim--- a very quick swim in the pool and beach.














              After the quick swim, I have allotted time for our afternoon walk (our mission- to explore Station 1).








         
            
         We decided not to go for  activities, we just ENJOYED the stunning view and the beach.   




                    It was my son's first time to travel in Boracay, so I let him savor every moment.  He was fascinated with the powdery white sand and wished he could get some, hehehe....





                  Then, we just walked around and appreciated the beauty of our FIRST  Boracay sunset :-)





             We went back to ESTACIO UNO--- time for our first NIGHT SWIMMING!  The water was very soothing-- just warm enough.  We felt energized and actually planned of something to do.  It's as if we didn't arrive from Manila.  Energy status:  90%.





               After our afternoon walk and night swim, we have RELAXED and we had fun in the jacuzzi!   Sooooo relaxing, I didn't want to step out of the tub anymore, heheheh!
       




              After the relaxing bath inthe jacuzzi, we decided to take Astoria's FREE dinner buffet invitation.  
 









             After the delightful meal, we moved to their new resort in Station 3 (Current By Astoria) for  their 90-minute presentation, then we headed to D'mall and bought 3-in-1 coffee and cup noodles.  




            We didn't go to the pubs to party and drink because our purpose in our trip was to RELAX and ENJOY the beach.  So, our daily activity was intended for walking, exploring, eating and swimming.






          A basket of fruits was waiting for us..... before we finally go to sleep.  Hubby ate some while watching TV.  I slept early to restore my strength and energy for the following day.  





Hubby was sound asleep...zzzzzzzzzzzzz!

                           Day 1 was really exhausting, but we were able to enjoy the whole day :-)

Cattleya Resort: Classy Private Pool in Antipolo

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 6, 2016 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)






                   If you are looking for a classy private pool, I highly recommend CATTLEYA RESORT.  It is located in Sitio Ibabaw, San Roque, Antipolo City (near Loreland Resort) .  Last year, we celabrated my daughter's 8th birthday there and I'm glad that we did..  The place is like a village with private pools.  We didn't have a hard time looking for our reserved pool (PATRICIA ) as they have the names with the pool number outside.






             Patricia 8 is the most affordable pool in the resort because the other pools cost around P10-12,000;  however it can only accommodate up to 12 people.  Since we were only seven, the place was just enough for us.  Upon enetering the gate, the utility man told us to be careful and just let the kid swim in the shallow part of the pool.  The water was clean (obviously, they have maintained the pool's cleanliness for their customers).






                  The barbeque area


                    Patricia 8 was only opened to the public on March 2015---everything in the place was NEW.  Their rate  (P4,500) is reasonable enough because the place has everything you can ask for.  It has a kitchen where you can cook your own food, barbecue area and tables where you can prepare and eat your food.  It's convenient because they also have a refrigerator where you can store your food and drinks.


















         The use of videoke machine (with latest songs)  is already ncluded in the package.  The only thing they don't have is a private bedroom where the customers can take a nap or rest, but it's fine because they provided 3 folding beds where we put our bags and stuff and rest at the same time.  My daughter and my baby were able to use them when they took a nap.




                 
                   My kids really enjoyed the pool-- I just convinced them to step out of the water during lunchtime.  If the driver won't pick us up at 5pm, they would have stayed.  




They let us use the jacuzzi for one hour.



I am really glad and SATISFIED that I have chosen CATTLEYA RESORT.  It is really recommended to do extensive research before you make any booking.  Impulsive bookings create terrible experiences.  

POSITIVE SIDE:  very clean, approachable staff, excellent customer service





For those who would like to check this out, here are the details:
CATTLEYA RESORT
Mobile number:  0917-8169759

Spending Mother's Day on a Budget

Posted by Jasmine R. Dedomo on May 4, 2016 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

           

          Have you realized how your MOM loves you?  Think of what she does everyday (calls and sends text messages)  just to make sure that you are safe.  Most of the moms prepare your food before going to school or work.  Full-time moms wash and press your clothes.  Some even opted to work just to augment the family income and to make sure that you can eat thrice a day.  Were you able to THANK her for all the efforts and sacrifices?  This coming Sunday (May 8, 2016) will be another celebration of Mother's Day.  Here are some activities/tips on how you can spend the day with her.  


1. If you don't have a budget, simply greet and thank her for everything she has done to you.  Say the magic words "I LOVE YOU."

2.  Give her a Mother's Day card that you created, pick some flowers and buy chocolates or sweets..

3.  If you cannot treat her to a lunch or dinner in an expensive restaurant, just cook and prepare her favorite food for her.  You may go instead to a park and have picnic there.

4.  If you can't take her out to a movie date, just have a movie marathon (using the CDs that you have and just buy chips and soda from the grocery store.  

5.  Make her feel relaxed and pampered.  Don't let her work for the whole day-- offer her facial treatment and foot  or hair spa (which you can do).  You don't have to take her to a salon-- just buy beauty products from Watsons.

 6.  If you still have a budget, you can book an overnight stay in an affordable hotel.  

 Note:  I will update this blog for recommendations about affordable hotels to stay for Mother's Day.


 UPDATE:  This is how we spent the Mother's Day (May 8, 2016)


When I woke up, my children greeted and kissed me.




We had a simple Mother's Day celebration-we just ordered pizza andShakey's.  






         Mother's Day celebration doesn't need to be expensive and luxurious.  The important thing that matters is that YOU have shown LOVE and APPRECIATION for your mother.




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